I have a paper cut.
It’s on the tip of my right index finger. Every time I type, pain shoots through my fingertip and hand.
I press on because I’m tough.
But it made me think of things we should avoid during NaNoWriMo. I’m not talking about the usual stuff writers give up—sleep, TV, video games, free time, reading for pleasure, hobbies, etc.
I’m talking about hazardous things. Such as . . .
Paper—Obviously. Paper cuts will make you miserable. Trust me.
Hot objects—Including but not limited to ovens and irons. Have you ever suffered a burn on your fingers? I have. It’s worse than a paper cut. Save yourself a great deal of pain and time. Order takeout. It’s for your own safety.
Sharp objects—Knives and scissors are taboo.
Laundry—Why risk it? I know the clothes are soft and should be harmless, but save your hand strength for typing your manuscript.
Small children—Admittedly, this is not always possible. But in the past week and a half, my children have sat and stepped on my hands more times than I can count. And, they seem to enjoy being fed, repeatedly subjecting my fragile fingers to all manner of hot and sharp objects. They request pizza, hotdogs and pancakes. It’s a miracle I’ve survived unscathed.
Sports—Volleyball anyone? I think not.
Card games—Cards are made of? That’s right—paper! And, most games require that you hold the cards in an unnatural position, causing unnecessary hand strain. If you happen to be playing Old Maid or Go Fish, then you are consorting with small children while handling paper. Madness!
Power tools—Do I need to explain this?
Of course, there are other things that can mess with your writing rhythm.
Tight pants—Every writer should own at least one pair of “writing” pants. The kind of pants that you wouldn’t wear out in public, but that are soft, warm and have an elastic waist. Comfort is important. If you have a character who suddenly goes on a diet or starts complaining of abdominal pain—totally out of the blue—check your waistband.
Caffeine—Too much or too little can ruin your day. Too much and your hands shake and your mind wanders. Too little and you can't stay awake to write. It's a fine line. And maybe you should stick to soft drinks and frappucinos. If you want to live on the edge and go with the mochas or lattes, be sure you let them cool off.
Dieting—Your word count needs chocolate. And it’s tricky to diet while living on takeout. The diet can wait for December . . . or January . . . or whenever.
If you’re a NaNo participant this year, what else do you do to protect yourself from catastrophe? And if you aren’t a NaNo participant, feel free to make any recommendations you can think of.
My word count thanks you in advance!